Flaming June


The month of June is quite often referred to as “Flaming June”. Depending on the weather this can be either a positive description or a negative one. This year I believe this description would be delivered as a positive.

The weather has been predominantly good, much to the benefit of the roses. Here are a few from my garden.

View From The Conservatory


I was both astounded and disappointed to discover that my last “View” was posted just over a year ago. I know that we have been busy and there have been other more recent posts.

Admittedly, the conservatory has been rebuilt and we did take off to Australia for three months followed by a month in France and a fortnight in Antigua. There have been several lesser UK based jaunts. However, we have also spent time at home and I have had my camera to hand. So, feeling suitably ashamed, here is a compilation of pictures taken over the last few weeks. We are now into the UK summer season and the garden plants are growing like crazy.

First up then is a regular subject, squirrels. Once again we are being visited by the albino variety.

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Albino Squirrel

As you can see they do have the requisite pink eyes.

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Albino Squirrel

Here in the UK squirrels are sometimes referred to as tree rats. The example above is the most rat-like squirrel I have ever seen.

Of course we do have an abundance of the grey variety. Just a few days ago there were four greys in the garden. Of course my camera was out of reach and since these guys were raiding the bird feeders, any movement on my part just scared them away.

I thought that the pure grey squirrels would have attacked the albino, but apparently not. Judging by the shenanigans going on, high up in the trees, I believe the albino may have found a partner. Maybe we’ll see some piebald babes around this year.

As I mentioned earlier, there are many flowers on show already. So, just a few snaps ….

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Iris

This Iris was discovered in a shady overgrown area of the garden. It was not planted by us and, as we are the only owners of this property since it was built, we have no idea how the Iris arrived. Pretty though.

We have a few rose bushes, which we did plant….

…… and a few other plants that we bought as plugs for potting on ….

And finally, for now ….

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We don’t know what this is. The plant is a climber and for the moment it is in a pot on our deck and is entwining itself around the handrail.

View From The Conservatory


“Spring”

The skies of steel and fields white with frost
Are memories of yesterday
And white scarecrow children search the hedgerows … and splash
Through muddy pools for secrets … the spirit of the spring,
With the sunbeams on her hair … shakes the sleeping earth …
And with the pilgrim by her side … she murmurs in the trees …
And in the ears of all who listen … “Now … time to wake … for winter has gone”.

Credit to Chris Simpson of  Magna Carta from their fabulous album “Seasons” and quoted here because I was reminded of the album, as I was preparing to post some photos from my back garden, and it seemed rather appropriate.

Spring is well and truly here and there are fresh shoots and flowers appearing all over the place.

One of the first flowers to put in an appearance has been this white Camellia, a gift from our granddaughters a couple of years ago. This is one of three, unfortunately only two survived the first winter.

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Camellia

Always quick off the mark are the roses. Sometimes I find the fresh leaves bursting forth much more attractive than the flowers. I have no idea of the species name for this example but it always produces wonderfully blousey pink flowers with a beautiful scent.

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Rose

A couple of years ago we planted half a dozen Primula in a small raised bed. They refused to obey the rules of boundary and are steadily spreading throughout what we laughingly call our lawn. The flowers are so pretty that I have to avoid them, when I eventually get round to mowing the grass, leaving ragged tufts of long grass scattered around the garden. At least until the flowers are gone. Then it’s a Primula massacre.

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Primula

Of course it’s not only the plants that burst forth, full of the joys of spring. The birds are at it too. Over the last few days we have noticed many species visiting our garden including Jays, Woodpeckers, Wrens, Blackbirds, Robins and Tits. Of course the tits are with us all year round as are the Robins and not forgetting the vultures, sorry, Wood Pigeon’s.

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Jay

As the Jays, Woodpeckers,  Blackbirds and Robins have been arriving in pairs I have been half expecting Noah to pull up alongside our deck aboard his Ark. Of course the Tis always arrive en masse, especially the Long-Tailed variety. Hustling through the trees, chattering away. Raiding our garden and feeders before moving on to the next.

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Hazel

We have had a Hazel tree ever since we moved into this house some thirty years ago. Every year it gives us a grand display of red leaves and later carries large numbers of nuts. Of course we never get to harvest them. The squirrels always seem to discover them before they get a chance to ripen. The ground below the tree is strewn with the discarded shells with tops cut off. Just like a decapitated hard-boiled egg.

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Grape Hyacinth

Our Grape Hyacinths grow in number every year. Unfortunately, due to our garden being churned up during the conservatory rebuild, this year the numbers are down. We are looking forward to them reclaiming the garden over future years as things settle down.

We are now looking forward to getting out there and making the most of the garden as the warmer weather comes along.

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Blackbird

 

 

Blenheim, Bampton and Burford


Earlier in the year, we had the rellies over from Oz. During their stay we traveled up to visit Blenheim Palace, stayed overnight in Woodstock and did a small vaguely Downton Abbey related tour of the locale. The following are a few photo’s taken over the weekend.

Winston Churchill - No visit to Blenheim is complete without an acknowledgement to the great man himself.

Blenheim Palace – Winston Churchill – No visit to Blenheim is complete without an acknowledgement to the great man himself.

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Blenheim Palace – Water Gardens

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Blenheim Palace – Main Entrance

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Blenheim Palace – The view below the Water Gardens

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Blenheim Palace – Tranquility

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Blenheim Palace – Rose Gardens, a blousy pink.

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Blenheim Palace – Rose Gardens, I can still smell the scent.

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Blenheim Palace – Rose Gardens, a luscious red, which is just how I like my wine.

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Blenheim Palace – Rose Gardens, for shear exuberance. Reminds me of the Can Can

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Blenheim Palace – towering, or is that lurking, above The Boat House

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Blenheim Palace – Hidden Treasure

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Blenheim Palace – Dainty

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Blenheim Palace – view of the lake, from The Boat House

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Blenheim Palace – Butterfly House, resident.

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Blenheim Palace – Butterfly House, fancy some fruit ?

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Blenheim Palace – Butterfly House, cheeky chappy.

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Blenheim Palace – Butterfly House, this cheeky chappy followed us around and harangued us from every perch.

Bampton

Bampton in Oxfordshire is the “real” name of  Downton, a name familiar with all Downton Abbey fans. As one would expect the real thing looks very different to the images presented on screen.

Bampton - Church View  appears regularly in the series. It is here that two pubs, The Grantham Arms & The Dog and Duck are located.

Bampton – Church View appears regularly in the series. It is here that two pubs, The Grantham Arms & The Dog and Duck are located.

Bampton - Church View - Apparently No. 2 gets quite a makeover to become a pub in the series.

Bampton – Church View – Apparently No. 2 gets quite a makeover to become a pub in the series.

Bampton - Church View - A real cottage garden.

Bampton – Church View – A real cottage garden.

Bampton - The old Grammar School building, which now houses Bampton Community Archive, served as ‘Downton’ hospital. Unfortunately closed when we were there.

Bampton – The old Grammar School building, which now houses Bampton Community Archive, served as ‘Downton’ hospital. Unfortunately closed when we were there.

Bampton - St Mary’s Church, renamed for the series as St Michael and All Angels

Bampton – St Mary’s Church, renamed for the series as St Michael and All Angels

Bampton - Cottages

Bampton – Cottages

Burford

Burford is a small town on the River Windrush in the Cotswold hills in west Oxfordshire, England, about 18 miles west of Oxford, 22 miles southeast of Cheltenham and only about 2 miles from the Gloucestershire boundary.
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Burford – With a name like Huffkins and the crooked windows this place looks like something out of a Harry Potter film.

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Burford – Going down to the shops is a doddle. Coming back is the real issue.

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Burford – Just popping out to the shops is part of the local fitness regime.

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Burford – Alms Houses, Founded in 1457 by Richard Earl of Warwick. Rebuilt in 1828.

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Burford – Nearly at the summit. The locals must feel like planting a flag each time they make it to the top.

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Burford – Minutes just fly by here. So much so that the minute hand has flown away. Obviously the right place to sit and while away the hours.

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Burford – Hope you have left the handbrake on.

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Burford – I wonder what’s down there ?

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Burford – Something quaint and interesting round every corner.

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Burford – Nothing is straight.

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Burford – Hidden charm.

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Burford – More Wonky Windows

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Burford – I was holding the camera straight, honest I was.

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Burford –

View From The Conservatory


Well not really. It’s been too hot to sit in the conservatory, other than late at night and then you can’t see anything. In fact the conservatory, at night ,used to freak out my granddaughter because she couldn’t see if anyone was looking in. With the lights on the windows pretty much turn into mirrors.

Anyway, the conservatory, is pretty much just a link into the garden and I just wanted to share some snaps taken this morning. So here goes.

If you have read my post from yesterday, we are getting our garden back in shape after some harsh clearing which also meant the severe cutting back of our rose bushes. We have several roses which had gotten pretty straggly over the years. They had all been cut, more or less, back to the main stem (trunk in some cases) feeding from the graft point. Much to our surprise they are all coming back to bush form at the rate of an express train. So much so that we have our first bloom. And here for your delectation is a picture..

Yellor Rose - I just wish you could smell the scent.

Yellow Rose – I just wish you could smell the scent.

just along from the rose we have a Lavatera which is also busy blooming. This one is in a pot, we have had them before but they don’t seem to like our soil and none survived. But this one is giving us a beautiful splash of pink.

Lavatera - Candy Floss

Lavatera – Candy Floss

This variety claims to be “Candy Floss” according to the tag supplied by Keydell Nurseries, the garden centre from which we purchased this example.

A first for us this year is growing tomatoes in a hanging basket. One of our baskets is ripe for picking while the other is still in that transition mode betwixt flower and green fruit. Here is a shot of the crop ready for picking so far.

Tomato

Tomato

I don’t know the variety but the plants are producing small but sweet and juicy tomatoes.

Last, but by no means least, I present to you a frequent visitor to our garden. No name, no breed variety, not ours.

Not happy to have been discovered

Not happy to have been discovered

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Why are you pointing that thing at me ?

I had just sat down with a cup of coffee when I saw this black shadow sneaking up into our apple tree. I managed to get in close without scaring kitty into a panicked descent which wouldn’t have ended well for either of us.

Bye bye for now folks.